I was reflecting today on the path God has taken me on over the last year. I then wondered if my journey of learning to wait on God while single would be of any encouragement to other young ladies. So I share it with you. It was a painful journey, yet one I'm thankful for.
As a single young woman in my mid twenties, I have gone through those times that many of us unmarried women face, wondering if the right man is ever to come. Ever since I was little, it was my dream to marry and have my own family. As I reached my teen years, I came to the conviction that marriage, home and family is God's design and place for women, and therefore, I would not take the common route of college or career mindedness. I would use my single years to prepare for my life calling as wife, mother, and homemaker. I also believed that waiting on God for the "right one" instead of dating this one and that one was definitely the way to go. I was certain I would be married at 18 as my mother was, and the thought that some girls would make commitments to wait til they were 21 to marry, even if the right one came around before then, was totally unthinkable, in my point of view. During this time, I had three little sisters to help care for, which gave me much training and kept me busy. I also learned to cook, learned several household duties, and listened to all the tapes and read all books on godly womanhood I could lay my hands on. Certainly I would be ready when "he" came around. Well, I turned 18 and knew no one, but did not give up hope in the slightest. He would come, I was sure... but then a year rolled by and nothing.
At 19, I seriously looked at my life in light of God's Word and saw areas that needed repenting of. Though I had said the sinners prayer when I was 8, I'm not sure that I was aware of all that it meant to be a Christian, that salvation isn't just a one time deal, it's a relationship with the Lord Himself. 19 was the best year of my life. Never had I felt freer after getting up off my knees before the Lord. After that, I dug into His Word, spent hours in prayer, and fed on messages on tape by the hour. I learned true surrender and consecration to Jesus Christ. Never had I experienced such peace and unspeakable joy as I did that year!
Well, time went on, the years slipped by and I was still waiting. I would meet different young men, but time and again, the Lord made it clear that none of them were for me. I started getting anxious about it. I couldn't understand why the Lord was working it out for others, but not for me. I was happy for the young ladies that found the 'right one', but inside my heart ached and I began questioning God of when my turn would come. This is what I dreamed of, it was what I wanted more than anything, and I was so certain it was God's will for my life. So why wasn't it happening?
Last year around this time, I came to a breaking point. I couldn't understand why, after all these years of waiting and keeping myself, of staying at home and preparing myself, rather than getting a job, was I still waiting. All around me, young people were getting married and here I was...still waiting.
The day was rainy, dark and dreary, just as I was feeling. It was everything to keep the tears from coming all day long. At last I went to my room and buried my face in my pillow and just let the tears flow. Why? Why me? I could only cry out to God.To be perfectly honest, my future never felt so bleak in all the years of waiting, wondering, and hoping. I clung to the verses "I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me." (Micah 7:7-8) and "They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me." (Is. 49:23). I truly felt in the dark. My future dream looked hopeless. But as I sat there, clinging to those verses, I began to let go. The dream, the deepest desire of my heart I had clenched onto all those years, I began to let go. And as I did, a peace swept over me and I began to see that that dark valley was good for me. It was not only good, it was necessary for me to go through it in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that I could either continue to cling to those dreams and grope my way through the darkness in turmoil, or I could give it all to God and allow Him to lead me through the darkness. I chose the latter.
A couple days later, I wrote in my journal: "My heart rejoices as I walk through this valley of darkness knowing that I can trust my Father's hand! I am surrendered to His will and the joy I experience is unspeakable! My heart is truly thankful to Him for bringing me to this place of hopelessness and coming to the end of myself."
A week later, I wrote: "An entire week has passed since I took hold of God's hand that He might lead me through this night season and I have no regrets; my heart is still rejoicing that He, in His lovingkindness, has ordered my steps so wisely and wondrously! Letting go of the things that I grasped onto the most was the best thing I ever did and trusting them to my heavenly Father has brought about the most joy in my life!".
Dear sister, if you are are struggling with giving something up in your life, that deepest dream or highest ambition, whatever it is, if you are anything, but at peace while holding onto it, may I encourage you to give it to our all knowing Father. I sit here a year later with no regrets of giving over my deepest longings and desires to Him that doeth all things well. Looking back over the years of my restless waiting, I can truly see God's wisdom of holding that very thing back from me. Has it all been easy? No. I have still had my struggles, but not near to the intensity of what it was a year ago. And when I am feeling extra low, I go back over my journal and recount the victory I had then and it reaffirms it in my heart that there is nothing comparable to leaving it in my wise Father's hands.
To close, I think I'll share another little excerpt from my journal dated the 1st of January. " One year has gone and another has come. As I look back over 2010, I find it was a year of ups and downs, joys and heartaches, trials and victories. I do rejoice in the victory wherewith I stand with heart surrendered to my Lord's leading. Still no sign of marriage on the horizon, yet I step out into 2011 with hope for my future and peace with God's beautiful timing."
Of course, I didn't have any idea how much more work the Lord would do in my heart in just a few weeks of writing that. I was soon to find out just how patient He had been and still is with me. That is one thing that just amazes me, God's patience with His willful children, especially me. Perhaps I'll share more of that another time. For now, I'll just say, I'm thankful He didn't answer all the pleas and cries of my heart from all those years, because otherwise I would have entered marriage with a lot of baggage. I can testify whole heartedly that God does do all things beautiful in His time, even if I don't see marriage on the horizon!
Well, I hope this was an encouragement to you. I would love to hear your thoughts, testimonies, etc. on learning to wait on God. May God bless each of you as you wait on Him that doeth all things well.
Still waiting on Him,